Wikipedia:Deletion policy/Middle-earth items

Sometimes, a group of similar or related articles is nominated for deletion over a short period of time. In cases like this, it seems prudent to have one centralized discussion about the entire group, rather than repeating arguments over each member thereof. This is an attempt to forum consensus on one such groups of articles.

Note that individual members from the group may still be considered notable on other grounds. This discussion is purely to determine whether membership of this group, solely on its own, is merit enough for inclusion in Wikipedia.


Everything that is said here is also covered in Characters from books or games, and consensus here indicates a strong concurrence with that.

In summary, major characters (e.g. Aragorn) (and concepts, such as palantíri, and locations, such as Rivendell) should be listed under the book, unless the article on the book becomes too long (obviously the case for LOTR), in which case they deserve their own articles.

Minor characters (e.g. Sam's future wife Rosie) (and concepts, such as Cram, and locations, such as the third tree on the left in Mirkwood-south) should be covered in a list of minor characters.

Redirects should be used for the names of anything covered in such a list.


From the parent category Middle-earth, an enormous number of articles about minor Tolkien-related objects, characters and locations were nominated for deletion, many of which will never possibly grow beyond stub status. The question arises, where does the bar of notability lie for these articles and how is such notability determined?

Arguments for deletionEdit

  • Ideally I think many of these articles can be merged into a more comprehensive list of Middle-Earth landmarks/rulers/characters/etc. However, there are several that come into being as an article that not only have no hope of being expanded upon, but there is little reason to suspect that anyone at all would be interested in their existence, even dyed in the wool Tolkien fans. For example there were recently articles featured on VfD about characters whose entire role in the Lord of the Rings trilogy (and indeed, the combined works of Tolkien) amounted to a single, one line mention with absolutely no information given regarding them. To maintain a list of characters of such limited importance would be as useful as maintaining a list of every name mentioned in the Biblical First Book of Chronicles, which consists of over thirty chapters of - nothing but lists of names and genealogies (sometimes giving a general occupation for groups of men, such as "trumpeter" or "singer for The Temple"). A bar of notability does need to be set and kept as far as minor Tolkien concepts are concerned. I would suggest, as a rather arbitrary standard, that any given character, place, concept or so on, in order to qualify for keeping (either in list format, or as a seperate entry if the information available warrants it), should either be mentioned more than once in the works of Tolkien (indexes do not count), or if limited to one mention in the works, have enough information to distinguish them from any other given character, place, concept, etc. For example, if Joe the Elf is mentioned as one of the elves of Lothlorien and no other information can be given, there is no point wasting space on him. On the other hand, if Jim the Orc was a general of the armies of Mordor who personally oversaw the siege of Osgiliath, that information would be enough to distinguish him. I hope what I've said makes sense. Arkyan 00:32, 22 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  • the tolkein fans have the encyclopedia of arda, a wiki, already. we have plenty of lucascruft and trekcruft and powerrangerscruft and all the other crap already. we make enormous efforts to clean those areas up. delete with extreme prejudice, and direct the authors to the encyclopedia of arda. or wikicities if you want to be really anal and insist on a wikimedia project.Avriette 01:43, 28 Mar 2005 (UTC)
    • The Encyclopedia of Arda is neither a wiki nor comprehensive. —Korath (Talk) 02:25, Mar 28, 2005 (UTC)

Arguments for keepingEdit

  • It seems that this is a lonely position, but since I had a hand in many of these, I suppose I should explain the reasoning. The thing that makes Tolkien different from many of the other fictional works is that the backstory is unusually complicated, and it can be tough for readers to make sense of things without the hyper-connected tidbits. Since there are so many, if you glom them all into a 90K mega-article, you've destroyed the value of WP as a reading aid; people have to scroll back and forth within the article to find a specific factoid ("now was Barahir Man or Elf?"), when a separate small article would have been ideal. The main criteria I used was links in and out; although something like Barahir seems really obscure, look at its "links to" list - most of those would "collapse" into a single useless self-link if it and related articles were merged into one. Now if you say "just use section links", well that's kind of silly; multiple quasi-articles within an article are just a more awkward way of having multiple articles, so why do it? The Tolkien section of WP (which btw is now superior to encyclopedia of arda) is just a small corner of the whole encyclopedia, why not spend one's time on more pressing areas of concern, such as the lack of Africa coverage, instead of fiddling around with areas that are mostly "done" and should just be left alone now? Stan 17:02, 2 Apr 2005 (UTC)
  • I also think they should be kept. Merging them would make them far less useful. Unless section redirects were possible... Ausir 03:53, 9 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Arguments for mergingEdit

  • I believe that all of these articles can be merged. There are legions of Tolkien fans who care very deeply about every aspect of middle earth. Why can we not have a set of articles that mention minor characters, or minor geography, or what-have-you? My belief is that for any article about some trivial aspect of a fictional universe with an extremely large fan base (ie. Tolkien, Harry Potter, Pokemon), we should merge that information to another article that covers the topic more broadly. DaveTheRed 23:31, 21 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  • Wiki is not paper, combined with fans that are interested enough to enter the information, would indicate there is no reason not to include this type of information on wikipedia. That being said, there is also no reason not to ask the fan base to organize thier entries into a reasonable structure. Merging also has the advantage of treating Middle-earth items and characters in a manor similiar to the items and characters dealt with in Wikipedia:Deletion policy/Nintendo items and Wikipedia:Deletion policy/Minor characters. --Allen3 01:31, Mar 22, 2005 (UTC)
  • Merging has the additional benefit of combining information into larger articles where it can be more easily found. Rather than a dozen stubs on Tolkien Orcs, it would be more interesting to have a single article that lists and describes them all (with redirects from the names of the individual orcs). Radiant_* 10:04, Mar 22, 2005 (UTC)
  • I agree with all the points for merging and redirecting small articles with little hope of expansion into larger articles along the lines of Minor bounty hunters in Star Wars. In addition I suggest that if we simply delete articles, even about things that are only mentioned once by Tolkein, the likelihood is that they will just be recreated when the next fan stumbles across the fact that it isn't here. -- Lochaber 13:17, 23 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  • By having all similar information in one place we make it easier to find. Also it means that most of the information is more likely to be read (a lot of the articles cn minor people, places etc. tend to be near orphans). Rje 01:07, Mar 24, 2005 (UTC)
  • I would say that merging is the solution, with the pages being made into redirects. Is there a standard format for minor charachter entries? If not, perhaps there should be. BigFatDave 04:14, 25 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  • Merge the items. Lord of the Rings is extremely detailed but I don't know if it can be detailed enough for all items to have an encyclopedic entry. -- AllyUnion (talk) 06:12, 25 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  • I like the idea of major merging, when possible. It prevents us from having a thousand poor quality stubs basically lifted right out of The Encyclopedia of Middle Earth, but also prevents us from losing "valuable information". Long ago I made a proposal when one or two of the Kings of Numenor came up on VfD. Since there are 25 of them, and only about 4 or 5 that are really important to the story, I suggested merging them into an article, with breakouts for those 4 or 5. I had the propsal on my user page, but it didn't get much in terms of comments. Maybe now is the time to bring it forward again. So here's an example of what the article would be like, using just the first four kings (1 of whom retains his separate article): User:R. fiend/Middle Earth proposals. This has the advantage of removing repeated information, such as having the same introduction stated 25 times ("In the fictional Tolkien world blah blah..."). It also really trims down those articles which only say "Tar-blaazztog was the Xth King of Numenor, he was preceded by Tar-skippleberry and succeded by Tar-Snip"; that information is presented in the list without using unnecessary verbosity to describe it, as the list shows what number he is, as well as who came before and after. If people like this idea we can put it into effect, and maybe do similar things with other articles. -R. fiend 21:05, 27 Mar 2005 (UTC)
    • Yes, I thought that separate articles for Numenorean kings were over the top too. Stan 17:21, 2 Apr 2005 (UTC)
  • Merge as much as possible. The fact that its fanbase is so internet-savvy does not warrant endless article creation. Part of being an encyclopedia means that particular levels of detail may perhaps not be worthy of inclusion. Merging also allows for more systematisation. JFW | T@lk 13:59, 28 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  • Merge some. I have only recently started to make major use of wikipedia for research. One of the nice things is how much is available. I would argue for inclusion over exclusion. Tolkien's works are a significant cultural feature, and having them well represented in various places in the wikipedia is desirable, at least to this user. There is a lot of information in wikipedia that could be found elsewhere, but it is nice to have it available here, so I don't see why the existence of the Encyclopedia of Arda should be relevant. One other argument for repetition despite being present on other sites is that those sites are not modifiable, whereas the wikipedia articles are, which gives a great potential for further growth to any article. -- Glen Finney 21:38, 28 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  • To take an example mentioned below, Brithon has little value as a separate article; it has no story or description of its own, and only two references from "real" articles. The most important things for a reference work to say are 1) where it is, and 2) that there is no story, both of which could have been accomplished simply with an annotation in List of Middle-earth rivers. Stan 17:16, 2 Apr 2005 (UTC)


  • Another option that I would find acceptable would be the creation of a tolkien wiki. We started a star wars wiki for the trivial star wars stuff. Couldn't we do the same for tolkien, and for that matter, pokemon? DaveTheRed 23:31, 21 Mar 2005 (UTC)
    • I am not altogether sure that we created the star wars wiki. I don't think our present articles on Star Wars, Tolkien or even Pokemon should be removed (well, okay, fanfic really has no place here, and there's a LOT of organization to be done). Radiant_* 10:07, Mar 22, 2005 (UTC)
  • It isn't possible to make a blanket statement about Middle-earth articles. Some of them are extensive, some of them are one sentence and nothing more can be said about them. Some should be deleted, some should be merged, and some should obviously be kept. We should decide each article on a case-by-case basis. RickK 00:44, Mar 22, 2005 (UTC)
    • I agree, things have to be reviewed on a case by case basis, unfortunately it means that there will be an intermediate period where there is a bit of a mess. -- Lochaber 13:17, 23 Mar 2005 (UTC)
    • If things should be decided on a case-by-case basis, what would you suggest as the best practice for making these reviews? --GRider\talk 17:14, 25 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  • I've found that the most comprehensive online source of information on Middle-Earth is The Encyclopedia of Arda. If something isn't in there, then you'll be hard-pressed to find information about it elsewhere.
As I see it, the Wikipedia articles fall into three groups:
  1. Articles such as Deeping Coomb, where there's an obvious article to merge into: in the case of Deeping Coomb, that would be Helm's Deep or Battle of the Hornburg.
  2. Articles such as Brithon, where there is no obvious choice.
  3. Articles such as Bellakar, which only appear in third-party works such as fanfiction, or that are too minor to get an entry in the Encyclopedia of Arda.

I feel that articles in the first group should be merged into the main article, articles in the second group should either be deleted or merged into articles such as Geography of Middle-Earth, and articles in the third group should simply be deleted. --Carnildo 23:34, 21 Mar 2005 (UTC)

  • Whatever else we may do, I'm strongly in favor of deleting purported "Middle-earth" articles based solely on fan-fiction. At the very least, they should be clearly labeled as such, and absolutely shouldn't claim to be part of Tolkien's Middle-earth. Are there many other examples like "Bellakar" out there?--Steuard 05:45, Apr 9, 2005 (UTC)
  • I strongly endorse creating a Geography of Middle-earth article and merging a lot of the lesser articles into that, with redirects. But not all of them. RickK 00:46, Mar 22, 2005 (UTC)
    • Concur with that. Geography stubs are less useful than a centralized article. Individual countries such as Lothlorien or Mordor would probably warrant their own article. Radiant_* 10:07, Mar 22, 2005 (UTC)
    • In your opinion, what type of articles would not merit a redirect? --GRider\talk 17:14, 25 Mar 2005 (UTC)
      • Huh? Of course anything mentioned in a list of geography should redirect there. Or did you mean, which are actually 'major' locations? I'll leave that to the true Tolkienists, to whom it should be obvious (it basically depends on how much non-trivia you can write about it). Radiant_* 11:35, Mar 29, 2005 (UTC)
  • A note on the Encyclopedia of Arda - its scope does not include anything from the History of Middle-Earth series [1], and I see no reason why we should similarly limit ourselves. —Korath (Talk) 00:33, Mar 22, 2005 (UTC)
    • I agree with that. Radiant_* 10:07, Mar 22, 2005 (UTC)
  • I dispute the notion that Brithon has no obvious choice to merge to. I think it would make sense to merge that article to Beleriand, which is the province where the river is. I also agree that articles on things from fan-fic should be deleted. DaveTheRed 17:10, 22 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  • I do think that articles on things from fan-fic should be deleted from Wikipedia but I want to make sure we are talking about the same thing. Basically I think if something is canon then it shouldn't be deleted, I'm not sure how it works with the Middle Earth stuff but with Babylon 5 (which you'll all be glad to know doesn't seem to have loads of stubs, I guess that fictional universe isn't as big) there are a fair few novels (see B5 article - novels section) which are not written by JMS but are canon but there others that aren't. I would not support deleting anything with is canon for Middle Earth (see Middle Earth canon and related talk) (or Star Wars / Babylon 5 / Pokémon for that matter) -- Lochaber
    • I agree that non-canonical articles should be deleted. If someone writes a Star Wars fanfic that introduces a new race, then we should not have an article on that race. DaveTheRed 05:02, 24 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  • I've made the argument on similar topics that there should be an entire separate wiki dedicated to fictional characters, places, and things (from whatever fictional source), and that mention of such things on Wikipedia should be reserved for those that are notable. --BD2412 21:00, 23 Mar 2005 (UTC)
    • Personally I think existance of seperate wikis is irrelevent to Wikipedia. Given that Wikipedia does not have any original research it is fair to say that all information on Wikipedia is in some form somewhere else - most of it is probably already on the internet. Take the actor articles, you can get a filmography and short bio for any actor on IMDB but there are plenty of actor bios here that are better quality. In my mind Wikipedia should be a well organised one-stop shop for the information you need. Take for example the Babylon 5 information here, even someone who doesn't know anything about Babylon 5 could easily navigate the information as it is all well linked together. If a Babylon 5 wiki opened up tomorrow (maybe there is already one but I haven't seen it yet) I would not support removing any of the information that is here because it is all of good quality and, as far as I can tell, it is all canon. Also I think it reflects well on Wikipedia that there is good info on topics like these, it shows a lack of elitism ;-). If a separate wiki wants to fill itself with stub articles about fanfic it's up to them (don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that's a bad thing, but IMO because Wikipedia deals with so many topics I think that it has to keep tighter reign on things lest it get really messy). -- Lochaber 11:27, 25 Mar 2005 (UTC)
      • I think that's really the best opinion I've heard of keeping any sort of fancruft in the wikipedia. However, I see a problem with an enormous body of fiction being presented in the wikipedia, which one assumes is presenting fact. I would be less concerned with having articles on the Kings of Numenor if when you got to that page there was an obvious indicator that you were reading about an article of fiction. That is however, way beyond the scope of this "attempt to forum consensus". Avriette 17:31, 30 Mar 2005 (UTC)
      • I believe there is a template stating that 'this article is about fiction'. It could be botted on top of all of those pages if desired. Radiant_* 08:14, Mar 31, 2005 (UTC)
    • The problem with the Middle Earth articles is that there is a sizeble number of articles that aren't of good quality and because the fictional universe is so much larger there are a lot more minor aspects, particularly in the geography. I don't think that having lots of tiny articles that are not well linked together reflects well on Wikipedia. However also I don't think that it is possible to draw a line about what is notable or not. So, I think it's best to keep everything that is canon and merge the aspects that are not dealt with in depth in the books and movies. I definitely support the idea of a Geography of Middle-Earth article, and any other appropriate omnibus style articles, though major things that can be in-depth like Mordor or Rohan should be kept seperate. -- Lochaber 11:27, 25 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  • BTW, I know I've been arguing the case for canon however in an article like Geography of Middle-Earth this is going to be harder to police and personally I wouldn't be rushing to delete a section out of Geography of Middle-Earth if the info appeared in a published and authorised work. -- Lochaber 11:43, 25 Mar 2005 (UTC)
  • In my opinion, all fanfic should be deleted in any fiction universe. And about the argument to keep even the trivial things so Wikipedia is a high quality one stop shop, personally, I don't think Wikipedia's servers need to be bogged down with useless factoids. If they had ulimited processing power then I would support that idea because that's what an encyclopedia should be, an enourmous repository for every bit and byte of factual knowledge we have. However, just as printing costs and lack of enough shelf space limit the Encyclopædia Britannica, so does server capacity limit Wikipedia. I don't care if Wikipedia has 1,500,000 articles if 500,000 of them are pointless stubs that just slow down the speed I can view my precious Wikipedia.

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